The Disappearing Art of Reviewing Books

One often hears writers lamenting the state of book reviewing. "Not since the death of Edmund Wilson," they say, "has there been a consistently intelligent reviewer." (I've heard that countless times, as if Wilson's work were a kind of lost Arcadia in the cultural universe. In reality, he did not especially devote himself to reviewing.) Nonetheless, book reviewing is at a low ebb, although the issue is rarely